Rochester Area Community Foundation assets reach record level

Rochester Area Community Foundation assets reach record level

Rochester Area Community Foundation’s assets have reached a record-high $578 million, the organization said Wednesday during a celebration at Frontier Field.

“When people in Rochester do well, they share their abundance with others and last year was no exception,” said Foundation Board Chairman Tom Richards.

The asset total is one-third larger than when the pandemic began 17 months ago and was made possible by a rebounding economy and new gifts, Richards said. Some $43 million in contributions was received by the Foundation between April 2020 and March 2021. It was the third-best in the Foundation’s nearly half-century history and $15 million more than the previous year.

The Foundation distributed $34 million in grants and scholarships locally and elsewhere. The 600 families and individuals with donor-advised funds at the Community Foundation recommended nearly $23 million of that grant total to counter the pandemic’s ill effects on people, nonprofit organizations and their communities.

“You hit it out of the ballpark, again,” said President and CEO Jennifer Leonard, building on the evening’s theme “Stepping Up to the Plate to Help Our Community.” More than 300 people attended the in-person event.

Highlights from the last year include:

• Offering a new $100,000 Social Innovation Grant opportunity. After reviewing 25 applications, two nonprofit organizations each received $50,000 grants to expand their programs — one in the Clinton Avenue neighborhood and the other to help ease the transition from jail to the community;
• Partnering with United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes to launch the Community Crisis Fund, which raised and distributed nearly $7 million during the first year of the pandemic;
• Creating a Racial Equity Growth Fund that brought free learning pods to city libraries to help students and their working parents as well as hiring laid-off paraprofessionals; and
• Establishing an Arts Prevail Fund, which helped to support documentation of the intersection between the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement in Rochester. The fund also supported nonprofits that needed financial assistance to buy technology for remote events and reopening, and for special social justice concerts by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Four individuals were recognized with 2021 Philanthropy Awards at the event. Receiving the 2021 Joe U. Posner Founders Award, the Foundation’s highest honor, were Tom Riley and Barbara Kelley, both former Community Foundation board members. Hanif Abdul-Wahid and Mary Anne Palermo also were honored for their philanthropy at the event.

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